It's been a while since ESPN's "College Football GameDay" show was on site for a University of Utah football game. It was 2004, in fact, when the Utes defeated BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium and became the first outsider to qualify for a berth in the lucrative Bowl Championship Series.
On Saturday, none of that stuff matters. The popular ESPN program will be in Fort Worth for the Mountain West Conference showdown between Utah and TCU. A segment on the Utes has already been taped.
"It adds to the atmosphere. It all adds to what's going on," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "But once the ball's in the air, none of that stuff matters. You just go into game mode and it's the Horned Frogs against the Utes."
With sole possession of the conference lead and BCS implications on the line, a rare sellout crowd is expected at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
As such, TCU coach Gary Patterson is determined to stay focused on the task at hand.
"We are going to concentrate on Utah and what they do. With all of this, it's harder to deal with when you're at home. When you go on the road to play, no one is asking for tickets, no one's calling, family isn't coming into town and wondering what you are doing after the game. When we are on the road, we'll get on the bus, the plane and then we are home," Patterson said at his weekly press conference. "Here, we have the intangible of the big crowd and enthusiasm, which is good, as long as we focus and take care of it. We've done our part by winning and putting ourselves in this position, but now we need to get it done."
TCU is the third MWC school in four weeks to host Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and the ESPN crew. BYU and Air Force were previous stops along the way.